As a breeder, you shouldn’t really interfere with your Pomeranian during the birthing process. However, if you’re a responsible breeder, then it’s essential that you always have a good quality “whelping kit” so you can assist your dog while she’s in labour or shortly afterwards.
Here’s a comprehensive list of essential products in your whelping kit so you don’t even have to think if there’s a problem. Keep it handy near the area you have reserved for her labour so you don’t have to go and find it when you have no time.
Your first task is to discuss the pregnancy with your vet and tell him that he’ll be your first phone call when needed. He can also advise you on what components are needed in the whelping kit, which should always be fully stocked.
Before you go shopping, there are a few simple things you need:
- Your vet’s number in your phone’s speed dial and the phone fully charged.
- A vehicle fuelled and ready to go if needed.
- A friend who can help if you have an emergency – ideally a dog lover, but it’s not crucial.
Whether you call it a whelping box, a nest or something else, this is the next essential item. You can buy a good quality one from numerous sources or, if you’re a handy person, you might wish to build one yourself.
It must be in your home at least several weeks prior to the anticipated birth date. Whether you have a Pomeranian or some other small dog breed, you need to get the bitch familiar with it because she will live in it for numerous weeks and her litter will live in it virtually all the time as well.
The whelping box must have plenty of space for your bitch and plenty of puppies as you won’t know how many are on the way. It needs to be dry, warm, clean and comfortable, especially during the birthing process. You’ll also need:
- Several hot water bottles or heating pads (read the guide to heating pads coming soon).
- Plenty of dry sheets and towels.
- Rails (aka box, pig or guard rails) to protect the puppies from getting squashed on the inside walls if the bitch starts stretching out.
Ensure all these items are ready at least a week prior to the big day.
Essential Supplies for the Whelping Box for D-day.
Now we come to the supplies you’ll need and you need plenty of everything in case you have any emergencies where you need to help your bitch, often with no warning.
Although a decent supply list should be complete, you really don’t want to use the products. So keep the box close to the whelping box during the time that your dam is giving birth and for a little while after that.
Round-tipped Scissors While regular scissors may be used, using round-tipped scissors is better because you’re handling fragile, tiny puppies and, if you have to snip their umbilical cord, it’s a cleaner way to do it.
Hemostat (aka forceps or hemostatic clamp). This is a tool used in surgeries, predominantly used to prevent excessive bleeding by crimping the umbilical cord.
The best one is the PetEdge Crile straight, stainless steel dog hemostat.
Dental floss After you cut the umbilical cord and clamp it to stop bleeding, you might need to tie off the cord. The best tool to use is unwaxed dental floss.
Lubricant and Surgical Gloves While the dam is whelping, keep away but supervise the process. If you need to get involved, always wear surgical gloves so everything remains sterile. To avoid passing on anything, always wear gloves.
Another aspect of caring for the new Pomeranian puppies is to ensure you weigh them regularly and track their weight as they grow. Ask the vet, another experienced Pomeranian breeder for “typical” weight figures for the breed for the initial few weeks so you can compare. You’ll need good quality dog scales. Once you have finished with the litter each time, disinfect the scales.
Paper, Pen, Vaseline and a Thermometer
Even if the entire litter seems healthy, you have to monitor their weight because Pom pups can’t control their body temperature and so they rely on their parent to keep them warm, so their temperature doesn’t drop too low.
You’ll need a rectal thermometer and some Vaseline to start with. Use a glove if you prefer. Slide it up his bottom for a minute and then remove. Keep a record of the exact time and temperature for each puppy in a notepad for that specific purpose. Use a different page for each puppy.
If you have trouble knowing which puppy is which, especially if they look alike and there’s a large litter, buy different colored ribbons to attach to a paw or tail of each puppy. A popular choice is the WhelpIDCollars WhelpIDcollars – Puppy ID Bands – 12 Colors | Made from VELCRO® Brand fastener | Small Size 9 in.
Preemie and Dog Milk Substitute Bottles
Puppies can’t eat food. If the dam can’t feed them for even a short time, you need a backup plan to feed them until the dam can take over again. Talk to your vet and have plans in place if this occurs. Puppies also can’t drink from a cup so you must buy preemie bottles.
Milk: 11 ounce PetAg Esbilac liquid milk replacer.PetAG Esbilac Liquid Puppy Milk Replacer — 11 fl oz
Bottle: a Pet Nurse bottle kit.Pet-Ag Nurse Kit Bottle 4oz
Supplement: Nutri-Cal for Dogs
Nutri-Cal for dogs is a high calorie supplement with lots of minerals and vitamins. It’s a handy temporary fix for dogs who aren’t eating for some reason. It’s simple to administer and something you should always have in case your Pom needs a nutritional boost.
Best choice is a two-pack of Nutri-Cal high calorie, diet supplement 2-Pack Nutri-Cal High Calorie Dietary Supplement, 4.25-Ounce Tube.
High Calorie Nutritional gel for puppies. I mix a little of this in boiled water and give to struggling puppies.Tomlyn High Calorie Nutritional Gel for Puppies, (Nutri-Cal) 4.25 oz
Sterile Disposable Syringes
Lots of dams feel unwell after birth. They have no energy, feel uncomfortable and can feel too exhausted to try and eat or drink. If this happens, you need some disposable syringes to give her fluids via her mouth. It could be supplements, medication, feeding or even injections.
Best: Four Paws Easy Feeder for Pets Four Paws Pet Easy Feeder
Calcium is like a super booster for Pomeranian dams because it assists her parathyroid gland to release more of the parathyroid hormone from her bones. This provides her with extra energy and strength so she can push harder when the time comes. Giving calcium supplements to pregnant or lactating Pomeranian mothers may cause serious problems. The preferred method is to feed a good quality diet suitable for puppies and pregnant or lactating Pomeranian dams. During labour mothers often benefit from a small dose of a fast acting calcium supplement like Calcium Sandoz or (3 PACK) CALSORB RAPIDLY-ABSORBING CALCIUM SUPPLEMENT IN A GEL BASE FOR CANINES 12ML EACH X 3 SYRINGES. After whelping another small dose of calcium often will help settle and calm a new mother.
You need to be very careful when giving calcium supplements to puppies but a great solution is to naturally increase the calcium in the diet by feeding dairy products like cheese and yoghurt.
Good Quality Flashlights
You may be in the middle of helping her give birth, and have a problem, and suddenly your power goes out. While this may “never” happen to you, it’s always guaranteed to happen at a crucial moment. Always have 3 or 4 bright, freestanding flashlights or lanterns that can give you enough light to handle the crisis. Check batteries and have spares as well.
One of the best is the Supernova 300 lumens LED ultra-bright emergency lantern.Supernova 300 Lumens Ultra Bright LED Camping and Emergency Lantern
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References and Further Reading:
 Denise Leo “The Pomeranian Handbook”.